Successful Group Work in College: Tips to Share

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Working In Groups

Getting together with fellow college students to study for tests and dissect the weeks’ lessons can ensure that you ace the class and make friends in the process. However, every study group in college is going to have its own challenges. Plan for the expected and unexpected, in order to make your study group work well for you and all participants. As the starter of the group, you are also its moderator, and should lead the way with positive suggestions and an organized outline.

Organization is key. Look over the chapter or chapters that you want to cover in the group. Divide the assignment equally among the amount of students that are going to be at the study group. Email each student his or her assignment, which is usually just a couple of pages, an easy task for even an overscheduled freshman. The same can be true if it’s a test prep; simply divide certain parts of the test.

When you get together in a group, go around in a circle, letting each student really explain that section. Keep in mind that there are going to be some flakes in any group, and there will be some times that devoted students just can’t make the group. In that case, step in or ask others to step in to cover the missing student’s material. Studying in groups doesn’t mean that you can skip the required reading or independent study; it’s simply meant to enhance it.

Work Groups for All Personalities

Your study group is going to be full of all types of personalities. To curb the person who wants to talk for an hour on one subject, set a time limit of 5 minutes for each student to discuss what he has learned. To allow the shy student to have the courage to speak at length on a topic, give each student a basic guideline of how you dissect the major points on a page of text.

Also, utilize the different personalities that emerge from the group to help it run more smoothly. There’s a place for every type of person in group study. Assign one person who likes to participate in the group to signal each student when they are nearing their discussion time limit. If you have someone who likes to chit chat with fellow students, have them call students from the group on a weekly basis to remind them of the study group and coordinate snacks and beverage plans.

Make the limits and group rules a regular part of the group, in order to avoid hurting feelings by simply cutting off a student. If a student feels unwelcome, you’ll likely find your group dwindling. Instead, let students know that all are welcome and are appreciated, while also enforcing necessary rules of the group. Overcome any awkwardness of the rules by being especially friendly to all. Welcome the group every week, and thank each person individually for coming throughout the evening.

Getting the Most out of Group Study

Although you may be hosting the group study, you should make sure that it works for you. Few college tips are more important than that. Take notes at each meeting, as each person speaks. Compare your notes before to those after the group, to see positive progress on how you are grasping the subject. Although you should take notes in the group, also try to live in the moment during each group study session. You’ll find that it’s much easier to pay attention and learn if you simply totally immerse yourself in each moment and what each student has to offer on the study subject.

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